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According to grammar books, direct object pronouns are used with the verbs "aimer" and "connaître" only when they refer to people. And when they refer to things they combine with the pronoun "ça" or nothing, like in

Est-ce que tu aimes le riz? - Oui,j'aime ça.

or

Est-ce que tu connais le riz? - Oui, je connais.

But I heard some people say in similar situations

Je l'aime.

or

Je le connais.

Is the usage of direct object pronouns with the "aimer" and "connaître" which refer to things acceptable?

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    Yes, it is acceptable. No reason why not, meaning, those pronouns are not restricted to representing persons. In fact, you have to use those, because there are no separate pronouns for objects.
    – Frank
    Jul 18, 2023 at 15:40

1 Answer 1

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It is grammatically correct to use le, la, les ... for objects. Those pronouns are not restricted to persons, there are no separate pronouns for objects. For example:

Tu connais ce livre?

Oui, je le connais.

is entirely correct, idiomatic, etc etc., and there isn't really any other way to say that. In particular, you couldn't say Oui, j'aime ça, using ça to mean le livre.

Now, one thing to note, is that in the example above, le refers to ce livre, which is a specific livre in the conversation. If there is no specific object that the pronoun in the answer would refer to, it's a bit more questionable, in terms of usage. Here are possible answers with approximate indications about usage frequency (subjective):

Tu aimes le riz? (rice in general)

Oui, j'aime ça (ça = rice in general, quite common)

Oui, j'aime! (no pronoun, quick and simple, common in conversation)

Oui, je l'aime (possible, not common, sounds "funny")

The issue is not that rice is an object, but rather that le riz is not specific. If it is a specific eg brand of rice, the situation is a bit different, and here are possible answers, with again an approximate indication of their usage frequency (subjective again):

Tu aimes ce riz? (ce = some specific rice)

Oui, je l'aime (l' = ce riz, specific, common)

Oui, j'aime! (no pronoun, quick and simple, common in conversation)

Oui, j'aime ça (possible, maybe less common)

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  • It is not "acceptable" (not very good but good enough), it is standard procedure.
    – LPH
    Jul 18, 2023 at 16:11
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    Cela me laisse coïte que l'on donne un vote négatif à une réponse comme celle-ci.
    – Lambie
    Jul 18, 2023 at 18:21
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    @LPH: "acceptable" has a specific meaning in linguistics, which basically amounts to "native speakers won't think it's peculiar".
    – psmears
    Jul 19, 2023 at 10:25
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    @LPH: How do you know that? There's not a lot to go on, granted, but that was how I read it at least!
    – psmears
    Jul 20, 2023 at 9:38
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    @LPH Didn't see that interaction so will have to take your word for it. But tbh I'm not sure which rocks' bottoms you're using as "criterions" of correctness that have more validity than what native speakers find acceptable :) But each to their own!
    – psmears
    Jul 20, 2023 at 10:04

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